CLERMONT, Fla. – The Calvin softball team dropped a pair of tough contests on Tuesday afternoon under the Florida sun. The Knights fell in extras to No. 19 Wisconsin-Whitewater, 11-9, and closed the day with a 12-4 loss to Bowdoin. Calvin is now 6-4 on the year.
Wisconsin-Whitewater struck first on Tuesday with a single through the left side of the infield that scored Mallory Klotz.
The Calvin offense started strong on Tuesday with a five-run first inning against the Warhawks. Junior Jessica Brasser (Rockford, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) scored sophomore Anna Gernant (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) with a double. Freshman Kayla Groen (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) then doubled down the leftfield line to score Jessica Brasser and junior Kaley Frank (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg). Sophomore Kristen Newman (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) blasted her first homerun of her career at Calvin with a shot that cleared the centerfield fence.
Sophomore Maddie DeGroot (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian) added to the Calvin lead with a homerun over the centerfield fence in the third inning.
The Warhawks would not go away and would cut the Calvin lead to 6-5 in the fourth inning. The Calvin defense held tough in the fourth to keep the lead. Kayla Groen kept the Knights ahead with a diving catch over the centerfield fence to keep the Knights ahead.
Calvin would push the lead back up to three in the bottom of the fourth inning when Maddie DeGroot hit her second homerun of the game over the leftfield fence.
UW-Whitewater took the lead with another four spot in the fifth inning to lead, 9-8.
Kayla Groen tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a homerun over the leftfield fence.
The Calvin defense kept UW-Whitewater over the scoreboard the next two innings to force extra innings. The Warhawks were able to get two runs across home plate in the eighth inning with the international tiebreaker rule to secure the 11-9 victory and improve to 7-1 on the year.
"Our team fought hard against a quality Whitewater program," said Calvin head coach Becky Hilgert. "We had a few mental and defensive lapses in the middle innings which proved costly. I was impressed with the aggressiveness of our offense and our ability to adjust at the plate against three different pitchers. It was an intense game and unfortunately we came up a little short."
Anna Gernant threw all eight innings and recorded eight strikeouts.
The Polar Bears of Bowdoin proved to be too much for the Knights in game two.
Bowdoin got onto the scoreboard in the second inning with a two-run homerun.
Calvin responded with a four-run third inning. Sophomore Rachel Borden (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg) hit a single to right field to score Casey Lawler. Jessica Brasser and Kaley Frank both had shots to the outfield to score junior Kimiko Hinastsu (Romeo, Mich./Romeo) and Maddie DeGroot. Anna Gernant scored the final run of the day with an infield single that scored Rachel Borden.
Senior Paige Groom (Potterville, Mich./Potterville) had two strikeouts on only one walk in the loss.
"We had to rebound fast both mentally and physically after a tough loss," said Hilgert. "Bowdoin is a very good hitting team and we weren't able to string much together offensively after getting leadoff runners on. I thought Paige was much sharper on the mound and worked hard to try to keep their hitters off balance."
The Knights will have a day off before they return to action again on Thursday against Union and Colby.